Guilty plea entered in
girl's death
Teen to be sentenced for involuntary manslaughter

COVINGTON - A Social Circle teen accused of inadvertently killing his girlfriend at a construction site off U.S. Highway 278 last year pleaded guilty to the charges against him at a hearing held Tuesday in Newton County Superior Court.

The defendant, Kyle Blake Holland, 18, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, theft by taking and criminal trespass in connection with the death of 16-year-old Kerri Mincy.

Assistant District Attorney Layla Zon said Holland requested that a pre-sentence

investigation be done and will remain out on bond until he is sentenced in early to mid-April.

Three others arrested in connection with the case - Cody Lee Smith, 17, of Covington; Tony Joe Burnett, 20, of Monticello; and Jeffrey Cantrell, 19, of Newborn - also pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of theft by taking and criminal trespass.

Burnett and Smith were subsequently sentenced to 10 years on probation with the first 30 days to be served in jail. They were also ordered to pay more than $1,500 in fines and surcharges, serve 120 hours of community service, have no contact with their co-defendants and to stay away from the Stanton Springs Technology Park construction site.

Cantrell was sentenced to 10 years on probation with the first year to be served in confinement. He was also ordered to pay the same fines and adhere to the same conditions as Burnett and Smith, Zon said.

Authorities said Mincy and the four defendants arrived at the Stanton Springs Technology Park construction site on the evening of Sept. 30, and started up some of the heavy equipment.

Mincy, a junior at Monticello High School, was reportedly riding with Holland on the side of one of the front-end loaders at the site. At one point, however, Holland encountered a steep grade in the landscape that went into a turn, and he overcorrected.

As Mincy attempted to jump off the piece of construction equipment, it tilted over and crushed her.

"This case is a difficult one for all families involved, but especially for the family that lost their daughter. Perhaps this will be a step towards closure for the families," Zon said. "This young lady would have turned 17 this week. These young men have an opportunity now to be responsible young adults that hopefully will learn something from this case and share that message with other young individuals."

Joel Griffin can be reached at joel.griffin@newtoncitizen.com.